This shot shows a brightly lit funeral. Pews line either side, and we see the backs of many people’s heads. Michael Douglas’s character, Sandy Kominksy, delivers an unexpected eulogy for his best friend, Norman Newlander (Alan Arkin). This is a poster with an image of Newlander to the left of the coffin, and flowers line the back wall.

The Script: Chuck Lorre

The storied writer walks us through the script of the final season of The Kominsky Method.

Annotated script by Chuck Lorre
28 May 20213 min read

When he began writing the third and final season of The Kominsky Method, series creator Chuck Lorre knew exactly what to do. Sort of. “I knew I wanted to start the final season with Norman’s funeral. Land the first shot hard; no artifice. The first image tells you everything and the eulogies then reveal more about the mourners than the departed,” he says, before quickly adding, “I revised the scene constantly for months.”

Lorre, who co-created many beloved sitcoms, including Grace Under Fire, Cybill, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, and Mom, is a firm believer in the rewriting process. “I did a table read for every episode. Coming from four-camera shows I’ve always relied on hearing the words read before shooting so I can revise, cut, or punch,” he says.

In this case, Kominsky star Michael Douglas asked Lorre about toning down his character Sandy’s tribute to his deceased best friend, a role played in the show’s first two seasons by Alan Arkin. “Michael liked the eulogy but was concerned about the level of anger toward Norman. He was right. I toned down the vitriol,” Lorre says. “The first draft was clearly overkill, and I happily cut it.”

A portrait of Norman Newlander (Alan Arkin) sits propped up beside two vases of flowers. The scene appears to be a place of worship in which a funeral is taking place. The portrait is framed with gold and is predominately dark save the white lettering (“In Loving Memory of Norman Irving Newlander”). Newlander wears glasses, a blue shirt, navy tie, and navy blazer, and he smiles.

A portrait of Norman Newlander (Alan Arkin) is placed near his coffin in the Season 3 premiere of The Kominsky Method

The largely unspoken responses to Sandy’s eulogy from his daughter, Mindy (Sarah Baker), and soon-to-be son-in-law, Martin (Paul Reiser), were just as important as anything on the page — “I told Paul that he was essentially playing Statler and Waldorf from The Muppet Show,” Lorre says — but ultimately it was Douglas who had to sell it, and the Oscar and Emmy winner didn’t disappoint. “With wide, reverse, close, crane, and medium shots, the whole scene required probably eight or nine takes,” remembers Lorre, who also directed the episode. “The close-up takes were critical, and not surprisingly, Michael nailed them immediately. It was maybe two takes.”

Sandy’s daughter, Mindy (Sarah Baker) and soon-to-be son-in-law, Martin (Paul Reiser) react to one of his eulogy’s more awkward moments.

Sandy’s daughter, Mindy (Sarah Baker) and soon-to-be son-in-law, Martin (Paul Reiser) react to one of his eulogy’s more awkward moments